What makes the difference between "particular" and "certain"? Or are they interchangeable?
Answer from a Native speaker
These words can be used interchangeably, but not in all circumstances. "Particular" in this context means "specific." If you replaced it with "certain," that would be a grammatically correct sentence that means essentially the same thing. When "particular" and "certain" are used to specify something, they are interchangeable in some but not all circumstances. Even when they mean the same thing grammatically, they are not always interchangeable. Both words have multiple definitions. "Particular" can also mean to be detailed-oriented, to want something done a certain way, meticulous. "Certain" also means to know something for sure, confident, specific, or some but not all. Ex: He is very particular about how he cleans his car. => detail-oriented Ex: Are you looking for anything in particular? => specific (grammatically can't interchange it with "certain") Ex: Are you certain about this? => confident Ex: She uses certain/particular spices in her recipes. => specific (can be used interchangeably)